Poppy the dog was all ready to leave for New Zealand, her journey having been organised by Animalcouriers.

Her owner went to the vet for Poppy’s final health check and for the New Zealand export certificate to be completed. The certificate was faxed to us so that we could check it for any obvious problems, and we noticed immediately that the details of one test had not been entered on the certificate.

We quickly called the vet, but no reply. We then called the testing laboratory to see if it was feasible to get the test done and results back in time for Poppy’s flight three days’ later.

We knew that by now Poppy and her owner had already set off for the airport, planning to stop off with family on their way. We tried to contact Poppy’s owner on his mobile — no reply — and no reply from his mother-in-law either.

There then followed an incredible series of coincidences…

We eventually managed to get hold of the vet, who realised that the town where his wife had gone shopping with a friend was on the route Poppy and her owner were taking. The vet tried to call his wife on her mobile, but there was no reply — she’d left it in the car. Luckily, however, she decided to take some bulky boxes back to the car before going for a coffee, at the exact moment her husband was trying her mobile again.

The situation having been explained, the vet’s wife used a piece of cardboard from one of the boxes to make a sign with Poppy’s owner’s name on it. She and her friend then drove to the main road and took up residence in a lay-by holding the sign aloft.

Poppy’s owner, meanwhile, was pootling on down the road, oblivious to everything, when he saw two ladies at the side of the road apparently looking for a lift. Fortunately he slowed to read their sign, spotted his own name on it, and pulled in.

The vet then made a 140-mile round-trip to get the blood sample from Poppy, then arranged for it to go special delivery to the university testing lab which, needless to say, was at the other end of the UK.

With everyone involved taking a keen interest in getting Poppy to New Zealand on time, the test results were produced quickly and the details entered on the export certificate, so that Poppy could fly off to her new life in Auckland as planned.

Poppy, who stayed calm throughout